by Sarah Potter
Balance seems to be a hot topic in the wellness world right now. Probably because it's the key to good health and wellbeing, and essential for overall happiness. When we feel balanced we have more energy, focus and time to concentrate on the things that matter. It’s very hard to be content and to enjoy life when you feel frazzled and stretched in all directions.
The first step is to work out is what balance looks like for you. Don’t compare your idea of a balanced lifestyle to your friend, sister, neighbour or workmate because it is sure to be different. And that’s completely ok!
Below are some simple suggestions to help you find life balance.
1 ~ Turn it off. TV, cell phones and computers take up a lot of time in most people’s lives these days. Try having a phone free day in the weekend or a ‘switch off’ time each night where you turn off your electronics by 7pm. Use this time to have uninterrupted conversations, play with your children, spend time in nature, get creative. I know from personal experience that when I go away on holiday and can’t use my phone it’s actually a relief. I put it away and can commit 100% to enjoying what’s happening right in front of me. I have better conversations, better sleep and far richer experiences.
2 ~ Prioritise. You don't have to do everything all at once. As much as you might want to, sometimes it just isn’t possible. Prioritising is key. There will be some things that NEED to be done (for me these are things like coaching calls with clients, sleep, writing school reports and taking time out to relax - yip that's on my ‘need to’ list). Then there are other things that can wait an hour, a day or even a week (for me these are things like writing a blog post, vacuuming, folding the washing, taking off my nail polish or tidying my desk. Hmm maybe that last one should be on the ‘need to’ list!) You're priorities will be different to mine and that’s ok. As long as you work out what needs to be done and what can wait then your life will start cruising along a lot easier.
3 ~ Say no. No is a complete sentence. You can write it and put a full stop at the end. No. See? Easy. Say it, then stick to your guns. You can explain yourself if you want to, but it's not always necessary. If you’re faced with a choice or opportunity ask yourself if saying yes to it will add value to your life? Will it lift you up, make you feel happy and free or will it bring you down and make you feel stretched and overwhelmed?
4 ~ Create space. If you’re finding life’s getting a tad hectic and full to the brim then look at where you can create some space. For example if you feel like you don't have enough time to walk your dog - create space by not watching that half an hour tv programme before dinner and walk him them. If you feel like you don't have enough time to write a blog post - create space by getting up half an hour earlier a few days a week. If you feel like you can’t find the time to chat to your other half - chop veggies together or do the dishes together in the evening and chat away at the same time. There are always ways you can create space to fit in what you need, you just have to find them.
5 ~ Spend time alone. Spending time alone can be one of the hardest things to do when you work full time and/or have a family to look after at home. But you need to put yourself first in order to be able to care for others. Having a bath, going for a walk around the block, meditating, doing yoga, reading a book or even just sitting in silence are all things that are fantastic for your health and life balance.
6 ~ Write lists. Write down what you need to do, that way you don’t have to keep it all in your head. My top tip that I got from a good friend of mine is to have a whiteboard and divide it into three columns - to do, doing, done. I write everything I need to do on post it notes and put in the to do column. As I get things done I move them across the board - it’s very rewarding to see that even when you think you haven’t ticked anything off your list you actually have!
7 ~ Treat yourself and don’t feel guilty about it. In order to have good life balance I personally need to do things just for me and just for pleasure. Life doesn’t always have to be about work and earning more money. For me to feel balanced I choose to treat myself to things like massages, buying flowers for my lounge, sleep ins, going to bed early, chai lattes, buying a new book, holidays and lying on the couch on a rainy day to watch movies. Sure there are other things I could be doing (cleaning, marking children’s books, making muesli) and spending my money on (savings to buy a house and new car) but I am a much happier person when I treat myself instead of always doing what I think I should be doing rather than what I want to be doing. Make a list of all things you WANT to do just for you and make sure you do at least one a day.
8 ~ Have fun. Don’t forget to laugh and be silly. Life doesn’t always have to be serious. Play fight in your lounge (seriously, I do this), tickle your kids, have dance parties in your kitchen, play fun games, tell jokes. It’s just as important to laugh and have fun as it is to tick things off your to do list.
Sarah is a health coach and primary school teacher who lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. She is a writer, speaker, happiness magnet and lover of sunshine and traveling. Sarah helps gorgeous woman discover what they really want out of life and guides them step by step to achieving it and more! Sarah believes that everyone deserves to feel wonderfully healthy and brimming with happiness. Her mission is to inspire others to create healthy, happy lives simply through the choices they make.